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The Crown of Flowers - Chapter 2

February 11, 2020

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2
Chapter 2
    The wind roared across the open field, deafeningly loud. Rain had begun to hammer down, turning what would have been a perfect battlefield into a muddy, slippery mess. Atop the largest hill stood a lone warrior, wearing only simple leather armor, a necklace, and a blindfold. His hair stuck to his forehead and curled around his ears, giving him an almost feral look.
    Zayrian gripped his sword, the rain making it hard for him to see the incoming army. He could only faintly hear the marching of the Empire's soldiers. His stomach roiled, but he stood firm atop the hill. The rest of the village had left as quickly as they could, so Zayrian was left alone to defend a ghost town.
    Suddenly, the rumbling of the marching quieted. The only sound was wind whistling in Zayrian's ears. He stood as tall as he could and raised his sword. Then, out of the fog, a small group of soldiers approached. One of them cracked a smile and the rest lowered their weapons. "They leave a lone, blind warrior to defend them!" one whispered, unaware of how good Zayrian's hearing was.
    "Leave this place! This land belongs to the Shendaya clan!" Zayrian boomed, trying to make his voice sound as powerful as possible.
    It sort of worked. The soldiers lifted their weapons a little higher and crouched in defensive positions. From behind them, more soldiers emerged until Zayrian's hill was completely surrounded. It looked like a hopeless situation.
    Once again, Zayrian raised his voice. "Leave this place now, or Kyrian shall strike you down!" Kyrian was the villages' deity. The Empire, while saying they didn't believe in such foolish tales, always had a fear of the village god.
    "Do not distract us with fables and banter! Come down now, blind warrior, and we shall spare your life!" One of the soldiers yelled.
    "I challenge this army to one on one combat! It is my right as a warrior to demand an honorable battle!" Zayrian called out again. "Surely one of you could take on a blind warrior!"
    "Just kill him now!" One of the soldiers jeered.
    "Quiet! We must grant him an honorable battle." the one that seemed to be the leader snarled at the other soldier. "Who shall take on this blind child?"
    One of the larger soldiers stepped up to the hill. His build was stocky and he looked slow. Zayrian could defeat an opponent like this in his sleep. The bulky soldier held a broadsword and looked even more arrogant than he looked slow. "I accept this… challenge." He said the word challenge as if it were amusing.
    Zayrian grinned. "Very well. If I win this duel, you shall leave this land alone. If you win, Kyrian will allow you to kill me and take this land." Zayrian proclaimed.
    Mutters of protest erupted throughout the army. The leader glared at Zayrian. "If you win, we will allow you to live. This land is ours."
    Zayrian thought it over. If he refused, he would lose the land anyways. Along with any hope of getting it back. Perhaps if he was set free, he could find a way to disrupt the Empire from within. He had heard whispers of a rebellion. It might take longer, but if he survived, there would be a way to get the Shendaya's land back. "Alright. I accept your terms. Do you swear on the power of Kyrian and all of his children to uphold your end of the bargain?"
    "I do." The leader said. The warrior facing Zayrian echoed the affirmation.
    "As do I." Zayrian swore. Then he lifted his sword. "Now, let us fight!"
    As Zayrian suspected, the burly soldier was painfully slow. His only advantage was his pure brawn. Zayrian darted in with grace, flicking his sword at his opponent's armor straps. The soldier positioned himself to defend his face, not anticipating the low blow dealt to his chest. A piece of his armor slipped off, exposing a bare patch of flesh. The soldier grunted in confusion and whirled to face Zayrian. The pounding rain and howling wind dulled the soldier's senses, but years of training in harsh weather had made it so the storm barely bothered Zayrian.
    Zayrian cut in again, this time aiming an easy strike to the exposed place. The soldier reached up his giant broadsword to parry the attack, smiling in smug arrogance. He expected them to clash blades, and then he could disarm the smaller warrior. At the last moment, Zayrian changed the course of his attack, and swung his blade higher than it should have. If the soldier had been even a little faster or smaller, he could have ducked out of the blade's path. But this soldier was too sluggish. Zayrian's sword hit its mark, and blood flowed from a gash in the soldier's cheek. He howled in pain and charged blindly at Zayrian like a bull. With one last movement, Zayrian moved out of the way and thrust his sword into the soldier's chest, where the armor had fallen off. At last the enemy lay still at his feet.
    Zayrian waited, half expecting the soldier at his feet to jump up and keep fighting. After a second, Zayrian lifted his head to address the army that gathered around them. "You promised to uphold your end of the bargain. Let me live, as I have bested your man."
    Shouts rang out from the army. Their leader silenced them with a wave of his hand. "You're not as inept as you look," he sneered. "Very well. You village scum won't last an hour in the Empire prisons anyways!"
    Zayrian faltered. "You promised to free me, not capture me."
    "Ah! I swore to let you live. You may live. In an Empire prison." The leader said, giving Zayrian a sly grin. "Of course, if you resist our arrest, we will have no choice but to kill you." He motioned and five soldiers cautiously approached Zayrian. They had seen him fight, and they were rightly nervous.
    Zayrian cursed. With an army surrounding him, there wasn't much he could do. Glaring daggers at the soldiers, he placed his sword on the ground. "Very well. But this isn't over, I'll promise you that."
    The lead soldier smirked. "Take him away."
    Then, a hilt of a soldier's sword came flying at his face and Zayrian's world went dark.

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  • February 11, 2020 - 7:37pm (Now Viewing)

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1 Comment
  • Princess Maira

    Awesome!!! Just as good as the first and you left me on a cliff hanger...


    15 days ago